Friday, February 28, 2020

HER FEARLESS RUN: KATHRINE SWITZER'S HISTORIC BOSTON MARATHON by Kim Chaffee.  Illus. by Ellen Rooney.  Salen, MA:  Page Street Publishing, 2019. 40p.  ISBN: 978-162414654-1 hc. $17.99      Gr. 3-5     J 921

In 1959, girls weren't supposed to sweat or compete in sports because they were viewed as fragile.  But that didn't stop Kathrine Switzer.  She ran as a child.  In college, she practiced with the men's teams because there weren't any women's teams.  There she learned about the Boston Marathon.  At this point in history, only men had officially run the 26 mile course.  Again, that didn't stop Kathrine.  She signed up as the only woman with an official number.  Kathrine's determination to compete in a marathon proved that girls are just as capable as boys.  This wonderful book sows that if you persevere, you can accomplish great things.  The author's note shares background info on the historic 1967 race.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Monday, February 24, 2020

THEY CALLED US ENEMY by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott. Illus. by Harmony Becker.  San Diego: IDW Publishing, 2019. 203p.  ISBN 978-160309450-4 pbk. $19.99   Gr. 6-12     YA GRAPHIC  940.53

This autobiographical piece by Takei, famous for his role of Sulu on the "Star Trek" television series and movies, tells of the time his family spent in World War II internment camps for Japanese-Americans when he was just a small child.  Although the graphic novel format contains many fewer words than a written memoir, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. The artwork conveys the emotion of a heartbreaking time for Japanese-American citizens whose wealth was claimed by the government, as they were being sent to segregated camps throughout the country.  The Santa Anita Raceway in California, one of the more well-known camps, is where the Takei family began their incarceration.  Not only does the story tell of the family's humiliation by being stripped of decent housing and their rights to live in their own homes, it reviews the political legislation (Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066) that was responsible for the displacement of families in 1940. Takei describes highs and lows within the camps during his years living there.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan formally apologized for the previous actions of the federal government.  The story continues on to document Takei's successful career and his activism in the area of gay rights.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, February 21, 2020

A DAY SO GRAY by Marie Lamba.  Illus. by Alea Marley.  New York: Clarion Books, 2019. 32p.  ISBN 978-132869599-4 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

The contrast between the pessimistic view of any situation is offset with the optimistic outlook on the same things  "This day is so gray," deserves a second look by the optimist who sees browns, blues, silvers, and yellows in the gray landscape.  The black cat has black fur, in addition to green eyes and pink pads on its paws.  Flames in the warm fireplace are not only orange, but change colors to yellow to red, making everyone warm and cozy.  This story encourages readers to look beyond the first thing they see, especially if their first impression is negative.  The world is a colorful and complex place.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, February 17, 2020

THE PROUDEST BLUE: A STORY OF HIJAB AND FAMILY by Ibthihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali. Illus. by Hatem Aly.  New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2019.  ISBN: 978-031651900-7 HC $17.00  PreS - Gr. 3   E PIC

THE PROUDEST BLUE begins with mother and daughters, Faizah and Asiya, purchasing a first-day hijab for Asiya.  It is blue like the ocean waving to the sky.  The next day, Asiya wears it to school.  Faizah is proud of her sister.  When she hears comments from school bullies, it puts a damper on her day.  Then she remembers her mother's words about the importance of tradition, and walks away from the negative comments.  The vivid illustrations complement the story of family, tradition, and love.  The author, Muhammad, is a fencer and the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete in the Olympic Games for the United States.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Thursday, February 13, 2020

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT MARGARET WISE BROWN by Mac Barnett.  Illus. by Sarah Jacoby.  New York:  Balzer + Bray, 2019.  42p.  ISBN 978-0062393449 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3    J 921

Barnett covers a lot of topics in this short (42 pages) biography of well-known children's author, Margaret Wise Brown.  He talks about children's books, authors in general, the quirky habits of Brown as a child, and her sometimes outlandish behavior as an adult.  Readers also learn about Anne Carroll Moore, a powerful librarian from the New York Public Library who created a children's room there, filled only with children's books.  However, if she didn't like a book, she censored it and wouldn't make it available to readers.  That is what she did to Brown's books.  Despite her conflict with the powerful librarian, Brown's books, such as GOODNIGHT MOON,  RUNAWAY BUNNY, and THE HAPPY DAY, were read and loved by children all over the country.  Brown died at the age of 42, during a trip to France.  The story ends as it begins, with a statement of purpose.  "The important thing about Margaret Wise Brown is that she wrote books."
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, February 9, 2020

SULWE by Lupita Nyong'o. Illus. by Vashti Harrison.  New York: Sinon & Schuster Books, 2019.  42p.  ISBN 978-1534425361 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2      E PIC

Sulwe was very aware of her dark skin because the children at school called her names that made her feel ugly, while her lighter skinned sister was not singled out.  She tried to make her skin lighter by eating pale foods and by using cosmetics to lighten her look, but nothing worked.  She took the problem to her mother, who treated Sulwe to a story about mythical sisters - one who was light and one who was dark.  The two sisters learned to balance their relationship by appreciating the beauty and talents of each other.  Sulwe saw that she needed to accept herself inside and out.  Harrison's illustrations are vibrant with soft edges to convey the emotions of a young girl who has a lot to learn about the world.  The author's note gives readers a hint that Sulwe's story is partly biographical.  This book has the potential to help any child who is singled out because of appearance, no matter how light or dark their skin, the texture of their hair, or their physical structure.  Self acceptance is a life-long journey for most everyone.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, February 6, 2020

NIXIE NESS: Cooking Star by Claudia Mills.  Illus. by Grace Zong.  After-School Superstars series.  New York:  Holiday House, 2019.  118p.  ISBN 978-0823440931 hc. $15.99   Gr. 2-4   E Reader

Best Friends since they were toddlers, third-graders Nixie Ness and Grace Kenny have spent their after-school hours at Nixie's house.  When Nixie's mom goes back to work, Nixie finds herself attending the after-school program.  Grace, however, finds after-school care at the house of another classmate, Elyse, and begns a friendship with her.  Although Nixie enjoys the cooking activities at the after-school program, and makes new friends here, she is definitely jealous of the friendship growing between Grace and Elyse.  When Nixie says something to hurt Grace's feelings, her classmates help her through the apology and reconciliation process.  This series has black and white illustrations and chapter markers that break up the text for struggling readers.  Other books in this series are VERA VANCE: Comic Book Star (2020) and LUCY LOPEZ: Coding Star (2020), which feature some of the other activities and characters in Nixie's after-school program.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, February 2, 2020

THE MAGNIFICENT MIGRATION: On Safari with Africa's Great Herds by Sy Montgomery. Photos by Roger and Logan Wood.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.  176p. ISBN: 978-0544761131 hc. $24.99     Gr. 4-6    J 591.56

The MAGNIFICENT MIGRATION is an education, emotional and touching book about some of the largest migrations in the world, most of which take place in the Serengeti.  Montgomery travels with wildebeest expert, Dr. Richard Estes, and the photographers, to show how the migration of the wildebeest touches the lives and travel patterns of the other animals around them.  Throughout this book are beautiful photos of the animals encountered by the research team on safari.  It is highly recommended.
Riley R., Volunteer, Ontonagon Township Library, Ontonagon, MI